Zero Waste Shop Review – By the Weigh

I’m beyond excited to finally have a zero waste shop in my favourite shopping destination, Barnard Castle. If you read my previous blog post about my shopping routine, you’ll know how much I love using all the independent, local retailers in this lovely Teesdale market town. A zero waste shop is the icing on the cake! Since I started working full time I haven’t been able to shop in Barnard Castle as much as I’d like, but I do take advantage of school holidays to have a good mooch round all my favourite shops.

During half term last week, I was looking forward to visiting the relatively new By the Weigh (it opened in November). Our son was on a play date with a friend, so our daughters and I headed into Barnard Castle. I was determined to be organised, so I made sure I had my jars for refilling as well as my containers for the butcher’s, produce bags, shopping bags and a pair of boots that needed repairing at the cobblers.

Located on Horsemarket, just opposite Boyes, By the Weigh is really easy to find. It’s owned by Ricky Marshall and Sarah Kipling, a couple from Middleton-in-Teesdale, which means they understand the local area and communities. Ricky and Sarah are passionate about reducing their impact on the environment and want to bring the zero waste lifestyle to Barnard Castle and Teesdale to help the residents of this area do the same.

The shop stocks a huge range of dried goods, such as pasta, rice, pulses and cereal, which you can decant into your own containers or weigh into recyclable and compostable brown paper bags. Other edible offerings include baking ingredients, herbs and spices, teas, coffee beans, oil, apple cider vinegar and store cupboard staples like dried fruit.

By the Weigh also sells household cleaning products and toiletries, including Faith in Nature and Bio-D, that you can put in your own containers, as well as others that come in recyclable packaging like dishwashing bars, shampoo bars, deodorant and toothpaste.

Other products include items to make the zero waste lifestyle easier, such as water bottles, coffee cups, lunchboxes, cotton produce bags, washable baby wipes and kitchen towels, dish scrubbers, bamboo cutlery sets for on-the-go eating and containers for storing your package-free goods back at home if you need them. I was really pleased to see that they stock some products from Leave No Trace, who I reviewed back in 2018.

The couple have recently launched a website, which includes a full product list to help you plan your shopping trip. If you’re short on time, you can order and pay online and Ricky and Sarah will package up all your refills in their recyclable, compostable brown paper bags ready for you to collect as you pass through Barnard Castle.

The refilling process couldn’t be easier. You place your empty container on the scales and print out a barcode with the container’s weight on it. Once your container is full you place it back on the scales, scan the barcode and the weight of the jar is deducted from the gross weight. Another sticker is printed out with the final price on. If I can get the hang of it, anyone can! I was also pleasantly surprised how reasonable the prices were. I refilled my cocoa jar and my mixed spice jar and bought a decent amount of banana chips all for only £3. On a previous visit I bought a reusable cotton teabag for our loose tea for about £1.75 and a mahoosive bar of dishwashing soap for £10.50. I admit the price of this last item had my husband raising his eyebrows, but I started it on New Year’s Day and I’ve barely made a dent in it yet. More on the dishwashing bar here.

By the Weigh have a Facebook page, where you can find regular updates on stock and opening hours and they also share lots of zero waste lifestyle tips. If you’re in the area, why not go and check them out.

This post was not sponsored or paid for (financially or in kind) by By the Weigh. It was an independently written, honest review.

Update August 2021: By the Weigh recently announced they had made the difficult decision to close the shop. But luckily for all their customers, they are still operating online via their website and also have a stall at the local market on Wednesdays. The offering at the market stall is slightly paired down compared to the shop, but customers can order all their usual favourites in advance to pick up at the stall.


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